Chapter 96: No Time for Crying

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Ronald walked around with his swords in his hands. He was holding an Epic-ranked set of thin black swords while strolling toward the walls as if completely normal. The blades were completely enveloped in darkness and he was walking toward the Southern gate to patrol while Marina was patrolling the Northen gate.

“Hey, little fairy!”

“How are you today, Ronald?”
“Yo brat! How’s it going with Miss Marina? Anything new~?”

While walking toward the Southern wall, Ronald met a lot of people that worked on building the walls or shared the foods to the workers. There were from all races and Ronald was happily waving and responding back at each one of them.

After finally greeting everyone and arriving on top of the wall, he was surprised to see Shiroko on top of it, dazed while starring at the destroyed plains in front.

“Ah! Miss Shiroko. Nice to meet you. I don’t think I was able to introduce myself before. My name is Ronald, a fairy with a dark attribute, normally a Swordmaster but now I ended up using dual-swords.” → Ronald

Ronald greeted enthusiastically while getting closer toward Shiroko.

Shiroko flinched after hearing Ronald’s voice. She turned around and was surprised to see his clean eyes.

“… Are you… not blaming me?” → Shiroko

Shiroko asked puzzled, thinking that he might have not heard the news.

“Huh? Blame you for what?” → Ronald
“… For making Gregor sacrifice his arm and maybe even more…” → Shiroko
“Huh? Wasn’t there a fight 3 vs 250 or so?” → Ronald
“Y-yes but-” → Shiroko
“The fact that you all are alive after such an uneven battle is already a blessing!” → Ronald

Ronald explained with eyes full of admiration.

“I don’t think I would’ve survived if I were in any of your places! The idea of fighting so many players is ridiculous!” → Ronald
“B-but! Sir Gregor had to defend me while I was too shocked to even move… If it weren’t for myself, I think Gregor wouldn’t have lost an arm…” → Shiroko

Shiroko felt like crying again. She couldn’t apologize enough for what happened to Gregor as she covered her face with her palms.

“But he also said that you saved him back, no?” → Ronald

Ronald asked back with big eyes, making her flinch and look at him with wide-open eyes through her fingers.

“He said that you blocked the attacks from his blind points in a skillful manner. He also said that he would’ve been dead without your assistance at some crucial times. He’s also thankful that you carried his injured body right before getting reinforcements toward the Antara borders.” → Ronald

“…”

Shiroko felt her chest tighten when she stared at him with wide-open eyes in shock. She then said in a hushed voice:

“… Thank you…” → Shiroko
“Hm? Sorry I didn’t’ catch that.” → Ronald
“Nothing.” → Shiroko

Shiroko made a small smile and then she asked.

“By the way, why are you here, Ronald?” → Shiroko
“Ah right. It’s my turn now to patrol on top of the Southern wall.” → Ronald

Ronald said with a serious face. He forgot for a second why he got there.

“Hehe~” → Shiroko

Seeing his childish face with a serious look make Shiroko chuckle for a moment.

“Then~ should I help you?” → Shiroko
“Uhm… I don’t need help with that…? Ah! But I heard you’re super strong! Can you spar with me?” → Ronald

Ronald was a little embarrassed at first then he remembered the rumors that the other players spread around the kingdom.

“Spar? Well, I don’t really mind it but… I’m a little bit competitive you know? I might get a little too serious.” → Shiroko

Shiroko said with a wry smile.

“No problem! I’m strong myself!” → Ronald

Ronald said with a proud front then he jumped outside the walls of the for-now-fortress and waved at Shiroko.

“Miss Shiroko! Come! Let’s spar outside the Kingdom’s walls.” → Ronald
“W-what? What about patrolling?!” → Shiroko
“There are golems anyway! In case of something they will hit the gongs atop the walls!” → Ronald
“Oh, umm… Alright then!” → Shiroko

Shiroko jumped from atop the more than 20m high wall and together they stepped further away from the walls.

Because of the former battles with the huge demonic-beast waves, the terrain was full of depressions, deep cuts, burnt or frozen parts while craters covered the areas around. There were visible even some huge stone pikes stabbed on the ground or tides of rocks erected from the ground, piercing upwards. Everywhere was blood and crows that harvested on the dead bodies. The smell of blood and rotten flesh permeated the air while chilling mana covered the terrain outside the fortress.

“Wow… You guys really had quite the work to do around here…” → Shiroko

Shiroko looked at the destroyed terrain with amazement. The ground was almost completely brown from the dry blood and in some more hidden places, the missing corpses would appear, rooting and emanating a foul smell.

I-it looks like they had it tough… → Shiroko

There were more waves even after the players arrived, but Ryu ordered them to only train, becoming more experienced and disciplined. Like this, he was sure there won’t be any casualties from the smaller waves on his watch.

“Oh, yes. Sometimes we had to fight night and day with no pause in between the waves. It was quite irritating. At one point I had to wash for hours to get the smell of blood out of my body.” → Ronald

After remembering the long nights, Ronald felt his head throbbing.

“…”

A normal child would find it terrifying, not irritating? Is he really from the same Earth as me? → Shiroko

Shiroko was dumbfounded by Ronald’s fearless spirit. Afterward, they arrived at an open area through some neighboring woods and Ronald stopped on his track.

“Alright, here will do. Miss Shiroko, I’ll use dual swords together with a technique taught by Sir Shen. Please brace yourself!” → Ronald

Ronald took an offensive stance, with one sword over his head while the other one horizontally in front, both with the tips aimed at Shiroko.

“Hm?”

His aura changed? → Shiroko

Shiroko was able to feel strong pressure from the little fairy boy. The swords were emanating an especially eerie feeling.

Then I will also become serious. → Shiroko

“All right, come whenever you’re ready.” → Shiroko

She took a martial art stance, with both hands in front and with her palms open, posing for a defensive stance.

“…”

Ronald felt the pressure and didn’t know how to start. His forehead started to sweat as he still made no move.

She has no openings… Should I go in head-first? I don’t know! → Ronald

“What is it? Are you not coming? Then I’ll make the first move~.” → Shiroko

Shiroko suddenly leaped and appeared right in front of Ronald, her right leg kicking upwards toward his chin.

“Damnit!” → Ronald

Ronald hastily sidestepped and got on her right. He slashed forward in a ‘+’ form, wanting to use one of his strongest skills from the start.

“Shadow Cross- eh?!” → Ronald

Right before slashing, his arms got grabbed.

“I won’t let you~.” → Shiroko

Shiroko smiled then she used her knee to strike at his stomach.

Woah holy! → Ronald

Ronald panicked and bent his torso so he won’t get the full impact from the knee.

“Guh!”

Even though the tried to ameliorate the impact, the power was still great and sent him rolling for 3m back.

“Gah!”

He felt like vomiting but he hastily rolled away from his place because he felt danger right from above.

-BOOM!-

Where he stood before, the ground cracked and pieces of rock-chips flew around. One of them even landed a cut on Ronald’s dumbfounded face.

“…”

Ronald looked at the disaster that he just evaded. From inside the dust-smoke, Shiroko appeared with a smile on her face.

“You have nice reflexes, but you should think more about your next move.” → Shiroko

She said with a sweet smile while slowly walking toward him.

That sweet smile made Ronald feel the chills for a moment.

I think I provoked a demon! Did she forget this is only a spar? → Ronald

“Now~ are you ready for round two?” → Shiroko

Shiroko took another stance and prepared to rush at Ronald.

“Eh? Ah! W-wait, let’s stop for now.” → Ronald

Even though they barely started, he already felt exhausted.

“No can do~.” → Shiroko

She suddenly leaped and prepared to land another kick on Ronald.

“Damn!” → Ronald

Ronald hastily evaded and created wind-blades while keeping his distance.

“Oh?” → Shiroko

Shiroko was surprised by how hard it was for her to evade and block the wind-blades. She also got some shallow cuts on herself.

“Not bad~!” → Shiroko

She became more and more excited after feeling the power behind those slashes and a rush of adrenaline made her face form an excited smile.

This woman is crazy! She actually becomes stronger the more we fight! → Ronald

Ronald was shocked to feel her aura raise more and more the longer the fight lasted.

He hastily spun and used another strong move.

[Dark Tornado!] → Ronald

A huge tornado appeared with Ronald in the middle. The tornado was a combination of wind and dark attributed energy that enchanted the wind-blades, making them a few times sharper than normal.

“Let’s see how strong you really are~.” → Shiroko

Shiroko leaped forward and punched toward the wind-blade tornado.

-Slash-slash-slash-slash-

“Kya!” → Shiroko

She retracted her fist and saw dozens of small cuts on it, the gloves and the gauntlets already destroyed.

T-that’s actually terrifying. If not for my black iron gauntlets, I think my arm would’ve been severed. → Shiroko

Cold sweat appeared on her back after feeling the power of the tornado, then a smile was visible on her face.

This becomes more and more interesting~. → Shiroko

She got closer to the tornado and punched hard on the ground.

[Stone Fang] → Shiroko

She uses a skill Gregor taught her and summoned a sharp stone pillar right in the middle of the tornado.

“Woah!?”

Ronald felt the ground below him quaking.

I have a bad feeling about this. → Ronald

He hastily jumped away and dispelled the tornado in a hurry.

-TSUNG!-

A huge sharp stone pillar appeared right where he initially stood, the tip shining at the light.

“…”

Ronald looked with big eyes at the sharp tip of the pillar which was supposed to strike in between his legs, and he finally snapped.

“You crazy woman! This is a spar! A SPAR! Who are you trying to kill here?!” → Ronald

After detecting Ronald, she tried to jump at him but when she heard his remarks she froze in place.

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“A-ah~. Sorry, I got too excited there for a second~.” → Shiroko

She made an apologetic smile then continued.

“Sorry sorry, it won’t happen next time.” → Shiroko
“What ‘next time’?! I don’t wish to die yet!” → Ronald

Ronald got irritated by her smile and turned around.

“I’m leaving! I need to continue my patrol on top of the wall.” → Ronald
“Oh come on. Don’t be mad now, I told you I get a little bit competitive while sparing.” → Shiroko

Shiroko ran after him and laughed while walking beside him.

A little?! How many times did I dodge death in just this one minute of sparring?! → Ronald

Ronald looked at her like looking at an idiot, trying his best not to smack her head from irritation.

“… Thank you, Ronald.” → Shiroko

Shiroko made a sad smile then walked in front with no explanation.

“Huh? For what?” → Ronald
“A brat doesn’t need to know.” → Shiroko

This damn old hag! → Ronald

Ronald felt more and more infuriated but he didn’t dare to say it out loud

She would kill me… → Ronald

“Alright! Let’s return and do some light sparring!” → Shiroko

Shiroko smiled brightly and rushed Ronald.

“What? Why?!” → Ronald

And so they did only some light sparring. Ronald used wooden swords while Shiroko was bare-handed. Even so, because of some sudden moments of excitement, Ronald had his life endangered for quite a number of times even if they used no real weapons.

After some time, Ronald returned to his little house where Marina was waiting for him while Shiroko returned to the clan’s building, made under Ryu’s orders. Inside it, all the players that accepted to unite with the kingdom lived and used it as their home. Because they were more than two hundred people, their place looked something like a castle in which they lived together.

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“…”

At this moment, everyone stood in the main living room with gloomy faces. Everyone mourned the ones that died for wishing to unite with them and spat over the ones who betrayed them. Suddenly, the huge door was kicked open and from outside, Shiroko full of cuts entered with a refreshing look on her face. Everyone looked at her with surprise and shock. In the end, Black Fang asked completely confused.

“L-leader? What happened? And from where did you get all those injuries?”
“I had some spars with that brat Ronald. I feel much better now.” → Shiroko

Shiroko smiled while stretching her hands out.

“Eh?”

Spar?! Is that kid alive?!

Everyone felt like the sky fell over their heads.

“H-he’s still alive… right?”

The wildcat young woman asked with a pale face.

Everyone knows how crazily competitive their leader is when it comes to challenges. At first, they just wanted to train so they asked for her help, but after someone trying out one match, the challenger almost died by having his head smashed on the ground by her knee.

“… We might have to run away tonight.”

Black Fang said while feeling his back turn cold. He was the challenger at that time and he’s alive simply because he tilted his head by reflex just before her knee landed right beside his head.

I had the best view ever, but I don’t know if I would trade my life for it.

At that time, he didn’t know if he should feel excited or scared shitless.

“Ah shut up, you! He’s just fine! He was able to dodge and block all of my skills and he even landed some, see?” → Shiroko

Shiroko showed her arms and her stomach. On them, a lot of cuts and bruises appeared red and blue.

“Even so, I can say I was the winner.” → Shiroko

Shiroko said with a proud face.

“…”

The fact that he’s still alive is already an achievement.

Everyone thought while feeling relieved they won’t need to run away because of an accidental crime.

“Anyway. Guys, it’s time for training.”

Shiroko suddenly became serious and started to talk with her clanmates while going toward the training grounds. She wished to make them strong enough so they could take care of themselves in this world where the strong ruled over the weak. Everyone knew that if they wished to at least be on par with the warriors of Antara, then they needed to at least be on par with a childlike Ronald, and that meant to survive more than five minutes against Shiroko in a spar.

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Title: World of Expertsd | Tags: Cultivation, Second Chance
Synopsis: The online game <> entered the whole world. It's a game about territorial construction and war to reconstruct alternate history. Although it's virtual, it'll change the world. Shi Hao, an ordinary freshman, decided to bravely enter <> in order to gain the approval of his beloved goddess's elder brother. He, however, accidentally got a super skill at the beginning because of a strange game-helmet.

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